Factsheet, pg 4

Page 4 of 11
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Registering with the Adoption Center: Prospective adopting parents must first register with the National Adoption Center (see Documentary Requirements below). The Adoption Center processes the documents submitted by adopting parents and enters them into their database within twenty working days. Once an application is approved, the prospective adopting parents will receive an invitation to visit the Adoption Center. When adopting parents arrive in Ukraine, the Adoption Center shows them information about orphans available for international adoption within the parents’ specified age range. The Center then issues a letter of referral to allow the prospective parents to visit orphanages to meet, select, and establish contact with a child. Along with the letter of referral, adopting parents will be given their documents, bound, numbered, sealed, and signed by an official in charge of the Adoption Center, with a separate sheet specifying the number of pages and the prospective parents' registration file code.

The National Adoption Center recommends prospective adopting parents who wish to adopt two or more children to submit a separate, authenticated dossier for each child. However, submission of two or more dossiers is not a guarantee adopting parents will allowed to adopt two or more children. Current adoption policy is for adopting parents to adopt one child at a time, unless you adopt a sibling group.

Adoption Center representatives will not meet with prospective adopting parents who arrive in Ukraine without an appointment or on a day other than when they are scheduled for an appointment.

Effective January 1, 2004, the NAC no longer releases information about adopting parents’ registration numbers and dates of their appointments to third parties, including to facilitators or others who have obtained the parents’ Power of Attorney. All communication between the Center and prospective adopting parents is conducted only by direct exchange of official letters. The NAC sends two standard letters to adopting parents: (1) notification regarding the date and registration number of a dossier and a suggested month for an appointment, and, (2) an official invitation for an appointment with the NAC, indicating a specific date and time. The Center currently uses normal postal mail when sending these letters, which can delay notification by three or more weeks. In order to expedite and facilitate communication, the NAC advises that families may wish to include one or two prepaid, self-addressed international express mail envelopes (DHS or FedEx) with their dossier. These envelopes are used by the NAC for mailing registration and appointment letters to U.S. families. The inclusion of these envelopes with a dossier is completely optional. The absence/presence of prepaid envelopes has no relation to expediting the actual process of registration of a dossier or the scheduling of an appointment date.

Meeting A Child: Once the Adoption Center issues permission for prospective parents to visit orphanages, parents may go and meet a child, check medical records and establish personal contact with a child.

Pre-adoption Medical Examination: While meeting a child at the orphanage, you will be shown his/her medical history. If any doubts arise, or if you would like to get more details on the child's health condition, you may request an additional medical check-up of the child (including blood tests etc.). According to the law, every prospective parent has the right for additional pre-adoption medical examination of the child conducted by a private physician in the presence of the orphanage staff member.

The panel physicians of both the American Medical Center and Clinic of Oil Industry of Ukraine in Kiev have expressed their readiness to perform pre-adoption medical examinations. Please check with them directly on their services and fees.

Parents should make every effort to thoroughly understand the medical conditions diagnosed by local physicians. Please be sure the facilitator and/or interpreter you hire are competent to translate and explain complex medical diagnoses. Knowledge of the child's medical conditions is required for the I-604 interview at U.S. Embassy in Kiev. Parents should verify that medical reports from the orphanage are thorough and reflect all information provided to the Ukrainian court for the hearing.

Court Hearing: After prospective adopting parents identify a child for adoption, the file for the case is presented to a judge in the region where the child lives. The power to approve or deny an adoption remains solely with an individual judge. The judge's decision, in turn, is based on a review of various documents of each individual adoption case during the court hearing

As a general rule, the judge's decision is announced and issued the day of the hearing. However, unless the judge grants an "immediate execution," the decision does not take effect for one month. Such waivers are granted only when there is clear evidence that a delay in executing the court decision is not in the best interest of the child (for example, damage to health). During the one-month period, the adoption can be appealed, which the Embassy understands is rare. Once the decision takes effect, the new adopting parents are granted parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.

Adopting parents must attend the hearing. In cases where one of the parents cannot be present at the hearing (e.g. major surgery, disability etc.), a judge may permit one parent to provide a power of attorney for the other parent.

Obtaining The Post-Adoption Birth Certificate And A Travel Document: The local ZAGS office (Ukrainian abbreviation for Office of Vital Records) issues a post-adoption certificate of birth for an adopted child based on the final court decree and the original (pre-adoption) birth certificate. The pre-adoption birth certificate is not be returned to the adopting parents, so parents should make sure that they make a copy of the pre-adoption birth certificate before handing it over to the ZAGS authorities.

Adopting parents should make sure that there are no discrepancies in the spelling of names of the parents and children in the court decree. If noticed, please ask the court clerk to correct them immediately. Failure to do so may cause delays in issuing the post-adoption birth certificate and in authenticating Ukrainian documents.

Once the post-adoption birth certificate is obtained, parents may apply for a passport for their child at the local VVIR (Ukrainian abbreviation for Office of Visas and Registration). Parents are required to present a written and notarized statement requesting that the travel document be issued. The post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and 4 passport-size photos of the child have to be submitted along with the statement. The new name of the adopted child in the travel document is spelled in English transliterated from Ukrainian, so it may look different from what appears on the parents’ passport. There is no need for concern as long as the child's name in Ukrainian on the travel document is the same as in the court decree. However, parents can request that the correct English spelling be noted on the blank page in the passport.

At the time the passport is issued, a special, mandatory stamp is put in it showing that the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. It is called a "PMZh-stamp" in Ukrainian. Although under Ukrainian law immigration authorities have up to 10 working days to issue passports or travel documents for adopted children, they are often issued before then, especially if the child requires medical care.

Credits: U.S. Department of State

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